This Week’s Headlines
How committed is Trump to ag? (Editorial)
(Feb. 1, 2016) President Trump needs to ramp up his attention to the agricultural industry.
Oh, yes, he has a great many campaign promises to be working on — he’s got a lot to do.
But it was rural America and the nation’s farmers largely responsible for putting him in the Oval Office, and politics being what it is, they’ve earned a piece of the pie.
Sonny Perdue of Georgia — no relation at all with the Perdue Farm family — seems destined to succeed Tom Vilsack as secretary of agriculture, head of the USDA.
We choose not to think that the fact that the nomination came at the tail end of the president’s long list of cabinet picks was a reflection on its importance in the matter of running the country, but rather indicated that Perdue was his man and would have no trouble winning confirmation.
George Ervin Perdue III was born Dec. 20, 1946, into a Georgia farm family.
Interestingly, he has held onto the name Sonny, which he got as a kid, but has also maintained the “III.”
He served as the 81st governor of Georgia and upon inauguration in January 2003, he became the first Republican governor of Georgia since Reconstruction.
There have been 30 secretaries of agriculture since 1889 when the USDA was founded, and although some were raised on a farm, only two actually lived and worked in agriculture as adults. When confirmed, Sonny Perdue will be No. 3.
Trump’s pick for ag secretary, grew up on a farm in Perry, a small town in central Georgia.
He served in the Air Force, earned a veterinary degree and worked briefly as a veterinarian before turning back to agricultural endeavors.
He has been involved in several agribusinesses in his career, from grain to eggs, fertilizer and exports.
Perdue’s passion for agriculture led him to politics and ultimately to the position of governor.
He served two four-year terms in office. — the first Republican governor in 130 years — and during that time, Perdue was credited with returning agriculture to the centerpiece of the Georgia economy.
Perdue’s agricultural and political associates in Georgia award him high praise. Zippy Duvall, the new president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that Perdue’s “roots go back to the farm….As governor he realized that agriculture is the largest industry in Georgia and he promoted it and helped grow our ag exports. He insured that Georgia invested in its rural areas.”
As President Trump jumps headlong into the presidency, signing a flurry of executive orders every morning, it would seem wise to have the counsel of an ag secretary, on foreign trade policy for instance.
Let’s get on with it.
Trump cannot afford to leave the nation’s farmers in the dust.